Tilewa Adebajo: After A Period of Disequilibrium, Nigeria’s Economy Now Returning To Point of Equilibrium

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On Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer of the CFG Advisory, Tilewa Adebajo joined ARISE News for an interview to discuss the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Adebajo said it’s important to understand that the government plays a big role in stabilizing foreign exchange and attracting foreign investments. As interest rates go up, both private businesses and the government are affected, so, the government has a huge role in managing this situation.

“It’s important to understand that there’s huge fiscal contribution to the current stabilization of foreign exchange and also increase in foreign portfolio investment flows.

“The fiscal side also, has to carry this burden because as interest rates increase, it’s not only for the private sector. Interest rate is also going to increase for government because government is now offering securities at a higher rate, and the cost of borrowing from government is also going to go up. So, there’s heavy lifting that also needs to be done on the fiscal side, to do that.”

He said government need to fix our economy and get everything back in order, highlighting that reducing inflation will benefit the country’s economy and government needs to fix whatever has disrupted the flow of foreign exchange into our system.

“This economy has been in disequilibrium and we’re now returning to a point of equilibrium. Let us also understand the reason why interest rates were increased. Interest rates were increased because unfortunately, we had a situation of 30 trillion of ways and means which caused a distortion in the economy and put the economy into disequilibrium. So you need to restore order.

“NACCIMA also cannot put out products anymore because we’ve become a sachet economy. People cannot afford. Purchasing power is being eroded. It is in the interest of the whole economy for us to be able to bring down inflation and within the next six to nine months, I think we all need to be able to tighten our belts to be able to resolve these issues. Why has that happened? 

“You are now seeing an alignment between fiscal policy and monetary policy and also with investment policy because now the foreign portfolio investments are now coming in.”

Adebajo also said, “At the rate we’re looking at now, one billion dollars a month, we’ll probably see close to 12 billion dollars of foreign portfolio investments. 

“Let us take a look at the historical perspective. In 2019, we had 25 billion dollars worth of capital importation in this country. In 2013, 2014 also, we had another 20 billion. Last year, maybe we had less than 2 billion dollars. There’s something we have done to distort a significant flow of foreign exchange into our system that we need to restore.

“Government has 10-15 billion dollars they used to spend on subsidy, and of course, you know that diaspora remittances are now approaching close to 30 billion. At any given point in time, if we get this economy right, we’ll get 25 billion dollars from capital importation, another 25 from diaspora remittances, which is 50 billion and then you can expect the government to get another 10, so there’s close to 60 to 65 dollar potential of capital importation into Nigeria on a yearly basis. 

“But the distortions on our economy is why this is not coming in. So why does the governor of the CBN have to raise interest rates? The monetary supply in this country which we call M3, total money supply increased by 40 trillion in one year and is now close to 95 trillion. If you put all this kind of money into the system, you need to tame inflation.

He also noted that while the new government faced challenges initially, it appears that policy harmonization is now underway.

“This new government had a few fall starts, but now it seems that we’re looking at that harmonization coming through”

He however noted that achieving stability may mean sacrificing short-term growth.

“Another group of people we need to think about is 133 million Nigerians are in multidimensional poverty. We also have pensioners in this country who have contributed so much to this country and at the twilight of their careers, their pensions cannot meet their living, so we need to be mindful of that. The way we do that is that we need to restore price stability and get back to that.

“So what we’re seeing now is that inflation is being targeted now at 21% and the benchmark rate now is 24.75%. So what that means is that real rates and real yields are now positive. So for an investor that is thinking about towards the end of the year, you can now begin to make commitment to stability. Once we have this stability, then we can look at growth. We have to sacrifice growth over the next nine months. GDP growth rose at 3.4% last year. Probably this year, we’re probably looking at GDP growth of 3% because we need to bring down inflation.”

He further added that bringing inflation down could lead to Nigerian economic growth. The focus is on restoring Nigeria to a GDP growth rate of 8% and beyond.

“If we can bring inflation down to 12%, the Nigerian economy will grow at least 8% or beyond. Lets focus on restoring Nigeria to 8% GDP growth and above.”

Melissa Enoch

Source link: Arise News/

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